Saint John Bosco’s Dream About the Ten Hills and the Banner of Innocence

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Saint John Bosco’s Dream About the Ten Hills and the Banner of Innocence
Saint John Bosco’s Dream About the Ten Hills and the Banner of Innocence

On the evening of October 22, Saint John Bosco had a dream that continued from the previous night. At the same time, a young man named C. E. from Casal Monferrato had the same dream, in which he appeared to be with Don Bosco and speaking to him.


The next morning, C. E. was so impressed that he told the dream to his professor, who urged him to go and tell Don Bosco. The young man went at once and saw Don Bosco coming down the stairs. He was curiously looking for the boy to tell him about his dream.


In the dream, Don Bosco was in a large valley with thousands and thousands of boys. Among these young men, he only knew those who had stayed at the Oratory. The others were those who might come in the future. With the young men were priests and clerics from the Oratory.


A very high hill closed off the valley on one side. A voice said to Don Bosco, “Do you see that hill? You and your young men must climb it.”


Don Bosco gave orders to climb the hill. The young men sprinted up the hill. The priests and clerics also ran, pushing the young men forward and lifting those who fell. They also carried on their shoulders those who were tired and could not walk.


In a short time, they reached the top of the hill. Don Bosco asked: “And now, what shall we do?” The voice said, “You must cross these ten hills that you see stretching out before you one after the other.”


“How can we make such a long journey?” “Those who cannot go on their own feet must be carried,” he answered.

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Suddenly at one end of the hill appeared a magnificent triangular-shaped wagon with three wheels that moved in all directions. Three rods reached a point above the chariot where a banner had the word Innocence written in large letters.


The chariot advanced in the midst of the youths. Many boys climbed aboard, and the number was 500. Only five hundred out of so many thousands of youths were still innocent.


While Don Bosco placed these on the wagon, he wondered which way to set out. He then saw a wide, comfortable road open before him, all strewn with thorns. On this road, six young men in white suddenly appeared, hoisting another beautiful flag upon which was written: “Penance.” The six stood at the head of all the young men who were to go on the journey.


The signal was given for the departure. Many priests sprang to the front of the chariot, which, drawn by them, began to move. The six dressed in white followed, then all the rest of the multitude.


Don Bosco looked back to see if all the young men had followed. He saw that many had remained in the valley; others had turned back. Troubled with inexpressible grief, Don Bosco decided to retrace the path so that he might persuade those ill-advised youths to follow him. However, his guide absolutely forbade him to do so.


“But those poor fellows are lost,” he exclaimed. The guide answered, “Worse for them. They were called like the others and did not want to follow you. They saw the road to be taken, and that was enough. Obedience is also for you!” Don Bosco obeyed and continued on the road.

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He had not yet soothed this pain when another sad incident occurred. Many young men in the wagon had fallen to the ground. Out of the initial 500, barely 150 remained under the banner of Innocence.


Don Bosco was upset with this development. Hoping this was a dream, he made every effort to wake up, but the dream continued to appear as if reality. He clapped his hands and heard the sound of his claps. He groaned and listened to the sound throughout the room. He wanted to dispel this terrible dream, but he could not.


“Ah, my dear young ones,” he exclaimed, narrating the dream. “I know those who stayed in the valley and those who turned back or fell from the wagon! I have known all of you. I will make every effort to save you. So many times, you were invited to confess but did not answer the call! For goodness’ sake, save your souls.”


Many young men who had fallen from the wagon joined those walking. Meanwhile, music came from the chariot that played so sweetly that it gradually overcame Don Bosco’s grief. They crossed seven hills. On the eighth, they entered a marvelous village, where they stopped to rest. The houses were of indescribable wealth and beauty.


Don Bosco said, “Saint Teresa noted that talking about the things of paradise belittles them. They are just too beautiful for words. So, I will only observe that the doorposts of those houses seemed to be of gold, crystal and diamond all together so that they would cause surprise and joy to those that saw them. The fields were filled with trees that had flowers, and ripe and green fruit could be seen growing on them simultaneously. It was magnificent and enchanting.”

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The young men scattered throughout the village, some to see one thing, some for another because their curiosity and desire to have some fruit was great.


In this village, the young man, C.E. from Casal Monferrato, encountered Don Bosco and engaged in a long conversation with him. Don Bosco and the young man perfectly remembered the questions and answers of their talk from their dreams.


Don Bosco had another strange surprise. His young men suddenly appeared old, toothless, full of wrinkles on their faces, white-haired, stooped over, lame and leaning on canes. Don Bosco was stunned by the sight. The guide said, “You wonder what happened. It may seem that you left the valley just a few hours, but it has actually been years and years. Look in the mirror, and you will see I speak the truth.” A mirror was presented to him, and he saw that he appeared as an old man with a wrinkled face and bad teeth.


Meanwhile, the group set out again. The boys would ask from time to time if they might stop and see things. Don Bosco told them, “Let’s go forward. Forward. We do not need anything; we are neither hungry nor thirsty.”


In the far distance on the tenth hill, a constantly growing light emerged as if coming out of a spectacular door. We again heard the singing, which was so beautiful that it seemed that something similar could only be heard and enjoyed in Heaven. It seemed not to be the music of instruments or human voices. The music was impossible to describe and so overwhelmed Don Bosco’s soul with joy that he awoke and found himself in his bed.

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Thus, he explained his dream: “The valley is the world. The hills are the obstacles from which we must be detached. The wagon, you understand. The young men on foot are those who lost their Innocence and repented of their faults. Don Bosco added further that the ten hills represented The Ten Commandments of God’s law, the observance of which leads to eternal life.


He then announced that he was ready to tell confidentially certain young men what they did in that dream, whether they stayed in the valley or fell off the wagon.


The next evening, Don Bosco asked the clerics and priests what they thought about that dream. They replied that it did not concern only the youth but indicated the state of society worldwide. Don Bosco approved, smiling at their suggestion.


Don Bosco inspired enthusiasm amongst his students with the dream of the ten hills that prepared them for Holy Communion. He also had individual meetings with each of the staff members in the house, attending to the needs and difficulties they encountered in their duties.


The end of Don Bosco’s climb appears to be Heaven, with beautiful music and bright light. Everyone had to fight the good fight and overcome his faults to reach it. However, not everyone attained Heaven; many fell away because they lost their innocence. This dream reflects reality: “Many are called, but few are chosen.”

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